HERE is what might be Australia’s best-selling passenger car in 2019, wearing plenty of camo but looking production ready for a late 2018 introduction.
Snapped in Germany undergoing final testing, this is the 12th generation Toyota Corolla, showing an evolutionary design language as it prepares to take on the Mazda 3, Ford Focus, Peugeot 308, Honda Civic, Volkswagen Golf, Holden Astra, Kia Cerato, and – of course – the Hyundai i30.
But don’t be fooled by the samey looks, because beneath that same-but-different exterior is Toyota’s all-new TNGA Toyota New Generation Architecture – a larger, stronger, and lighter platform that promises to propel the Corolla/Auris straight into contention.
We’ve already driven the latest Toyota Prius hybrid with TNGA and have come away impressed, so here’s hoping the same thing happens with the Japanese small-car stalwart.
Speaking of the Prius; count on there being another petrol-electric hybrid version – as well as a plug-in pure EV further down the track – to supplement a range of new and carryover petrol engines on offer. While Europe will see a 1.2-litre four-cylinder turbo offered alongside normally-aspirated 1.5 and 1.8 versions, the Australian Corolla is likely to stick with latter for the time being. Six-speed manual and CVT Continuously Variable Transmission choices will be the norm.
We also wonder whether Toyota will continue to offer two levels of rear suspension for the 2018 redesign. The Auris is expected to continue with an advanced multi-link independent rear, while for cost reasons, most of the Japanese-made Corolla-badged variants – bar the British-built Hybrid – might most likely stick with a torsion beam arrangement.
Toyota is acutely aware that to attack the Golf successfully it needs to lift the Corolla/Auris’ cabin design and presentation, so we hear that better quality trim and materials are on their way. More rear occupant and luggage space is also a certainty, thanks to a longer wheelbase and wider tracks.
An American-market focused four-door sedan will also join the fray sometime during 2019, and will probably again be sourced from Thailand for our market.
Prices? Only a fool would bet against a $20,000 base hatch, stretching to the low-thirty mark for the sporty ZR.
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